Keep going

Believe-1-575x675If there is one thing I have learned in the last week it is that a 79 year old does not bounce back. My husband has had several surgeries in the last few years…mostly from jumping out of airplanes in the army. I have had none. I have always been supportive of him during his recoveries but I am not sure I have appreciated just how hard it is to get back to your best you can be.

He has been so supportive and kind to me with this surgery which was not a bad one (as surgeries go), I guess experience is the best teacher.

I have no complaints today other than being tired. I am usually the energizer bunny but have had to listen to my body and rest. I am grateful that everything went so well.

I have always spent a lot of time crossing bridges before getting to them. This time I was better than usual. I think the time I have spent learning new habits and applying the needed skills did make a difference. My journey to be “worryless” is advancing. I’m not at the end but making progress. We can get better but it does take work. Seeing this improvement encourages me to continue my efforts and keep going.

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I think that it is easy to get discouraged when we can’t see progress but it will come with time. Just work your way through one day before considering the next. Things can change.

? The Death Panel?

choices medicalI have been out of the loop for several days. Had thyroid surgery on Friday and am feeling good…just tired. After a fall season of chaos I hope we are moving into a winter season of rest and joy. I now have to catch up on reading everything that I missed.

I hadn’t been involved in the hospital system for a while and had forgotten how dehumanizing it can be. The hospital was good, care was good it is just how the system operates. It is so easy to feel like someone out of one of the dystopian novels. Especially the older ones like 1984 and Soylent Green. It is easy to imagine yourself discovering that the light embedded in your arm has just lit up and it is time for you to go and be floated up to bliss.

It has been under discussion and very much under wraps having a Death Panel decide who will be left to die. The majority of money is spent on end of life care. Sometimes the kind where life is extended but not necessarily for the better.However, judgement needs to be made based on health and choice. If we are lucky the medical system will continue to allow us to make out own choices and not force the elderly but active to be told that nothing is allowed at their age.

Terrible topic. So sorry. It is just something that I know could come if we don’t have a say about what happens.

I promise more pleasant topic tomorrow.

How things change!

Today I heard and interesting statement. “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” This thought has made me think about how things are changing in our country and other parts of the world.

The phrase came in church after an discussion of The Leverite Law in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Levirate Marriage

When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 

Times have changed since this was in effect. The woman was not considered at all. Now our laws recognize women as equal.

changing values

However, as we look at the initial quote we begin to question exactly what the values are today. So many are changing so fast that we can’t keep up with them and are part of our divisions. Even various religious denominations have switched from one idea to another. The earlier position of life at first breath came from the Bible: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7

It is debated if the shift to life at conception was a political one or a change due to science or some other influence. Either way it was a big shift that has led to a conflicted country regarding abortion.

This is just an example of how “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.”  I never thought of it from this perspective and it is interesting to do so.

Love is infinite

I have been thinking about love. I’m not talking about romantic love but a more expansive love. Love, if nurtured, does not decrease…..it grows. Not just for one person but there is always more to share with others. Our ability to love can be endless if we encourage it.

love-is-infinite

Christ called us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This statement reminds us that it is important for our love to both reach out to others but also inward to ourselves. Both are necessary.

Most of the major religions consider love to be crucial. It is unfortunate that mankind has skewed the original tenets and intentions of them so much. “Religion” has encouraged divisiveness and exclusivity. Each “sect” is touting its “truth” and denigrating all others. So many splits and divisions have occurred that I am not sure we could name them all.

We have lost the call to love. Love our world, our earth itself with all its plants, animals, and beings with a fierceness that forces us to consider the good of it all. How far we have strayed.

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We have to speak out with love. We may only reach one person but each one is one that is changed and with hope that they will pass it on.

Speak up, share your experience!

Today another Word Press blogger wrote about the state of our country. This is a great article from https://earthwalkingworld.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/unworthy-america/

speak up

The article and some comments started me thinking about how we should live our later years. I am of the opinion that we should not sit down and let everything pass us by. We have much to give and we have to speak out. This country and the world need to hear our voices and see that there are other ways. This whole thought process reminded me of this poem. It is my mantra!

Dylan Thomas – 1914-1953

Do no go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Looking at acceptance

Acceptance. A mighty word. Merriman Webster says:

1: the quality or state of being accepted or acceptableHis theories have gained widespread acceptance.
2: the act of accepting something or someone : the fact of being accepted : APPROVAL

The two perspectives listed here show two sides of this word. One is the act of us being accepted by someone else. The other is from our perspective. Our acceptance of someone else or something else. Both of these are important.

How many times have we wanted to be accepted by other people. How many times have we wanted to belong to a group, join a club, or some other organization? We worry about ourselves. Will we meet the standards they want? Are we good enough? We may experience a feeling of angst while waiting for an answer. Sometimes we are too concerned with what others think. We don’t think well enough of ourselves. It can cause us to be afraid to try things. We may not think that we are good enough. We can have the sense of being an outcast or that we don’t belong.

change accept

The other thing is having the courage and wisdom to accept the things that happen to us in life. Acceptance can bring us to a place of peace and calm. Knowing that there are some things we cannot change is an important fact of life.

The other side of the coin is our acceptance of others. How many of us have been in a group that rejected other people. My youngest child while in high school was asked to join a prestigious club. She discovered that her best friend was not also asked to join. I was so proud of her when she turned down that invitation. Her concern was for her friend and the judgment of others meant nothing.

admirableIt is so easy for us to reject others without any knowledge about them. We too often take outward appearances and don’t look deep enough. We may find that someone who we deemed unacceptable is actually one of the best people we know. It is so easy to pass by the homeless person on the street. We make assumptions about their life, their intelligence and their perspective. When I worked for the church there was a man who was homeless. After having several conversations with him I discovered that he was quite brilliant and homelessness was not the norm for him. It helped to show me that judgment is not always based on reality.

When we think about the word acceptance we have to look at both sides. We have to remember the times that we were not accepted and also the times that we rejected someone else. Be careful with the choices that you make about other people and understand the mistakes others can make about you.

Burned books

Recently a college near us ran into some controversy. A novelist came to read a selection from her recent book and students protested and burned copies of the book.

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The book is:

The novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, is by Jennine Capó Crucet, ​an English professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who came to the Statesboro, Ga., campus last Wednesday to read “Imagine Me Here, or How I Became a Professor,” an essay included in the novel, according to a statement from Crucet.

Make Your Home Among Strangers was selected among a list of recommended readings for freshmen as part of Georgia Southern’s first-year experience program. It is the story of a first-generation American born to Cuban immigrant parents who is accepted into an elite university and is rejected by her family as well as the white students at the college.

Students were offended  by some of her statements about white privilege and staged the protest. The school responded with statements.

Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing John Lester wrote in an email. Book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values, Lester told USA Today. But the university does uphold students’ rights to assert their freedom of expression, he said.

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I cannot disagree with the students right to protest. However, I was a young child about 5 years old at the end of WWII. I am sure I didn’t remember much then but as I grew older and understood Hitler’s policies I was appalled by the burning of books. The episode at the school triggered memories of burning books and banning books. This, for me, is a reminder of where things are headed when we are told what we can and cannot read.

These students were not around when books were burned to remove freedoms. They don’t have experience of thoughts being limited and controlled. I know that was not their intention but I am always anxious when I hear about books being burned.

 

When is it discrimination?

This morning in church the sermon focused on two pieces of Scripture one from second Kings and the other from Luke. Both pieces of Scripture were talking about someone with leprosy. In the Old Testament of the Bible lepers were considered unclean. Unclean meant that they could not participate in any regular community. They were outcasts. In other parts of the Old Testament specifically the Torah there are laws written concerning people with leprosy and other diseases. The law prohibited these people from being part of the community. I am sure that they were initially formed to prevent contagion and exposure to those who might pass on illness.

In Luke Jesus heals 10 lepers. According to the laws of that time those lepers must go to the priests and be properly assessed and determined that they were no longer unclean. Only the priests could make that decision. Jesus, however, asserted that they were now clean and sent them to be looked at. Jesus essentially sidestepped the law.

critical thinking

This exclusion of people from society still exists today. Laws have been written to prevent people from being excluded from life in the community. Job discrimination is not tolerated on many levels. However, often the wording of laws is somewhat ambiguous. When a law is written it is usually written in a certain period of time and to address specific concerns of that era.

Now we have cases before the United States Supreme Court questioning discrimination laws concerning sex. The laws were written in a time when Blacks and women were being discriminated against in the workplace. Now there are questions about that law. The questions really are concerning issues that we face today that we didn’t face in the 60s. So a determination is having to be made about the real meaning of the law. There are people on both sides.

think for yourselfThere has been a lot of discussion on media for both sides. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

The law itself is not in question. It’s the interpretation of the law that is the problem. Whenever these issues come up it is always a good idea to go and read the original law in order to understand the discussion. Listening to the talking heads does not give you an accurate picture. Sometimes looking up the Constitution or other documents will give you a clearer picture. Don’t take someone else’s word for something. Read it for yourself and make your own decision.

 

Joy and sorrow

This morning our church celebrated the life of St. Francis as our church is named for him. It was a joyful day much needed after the last few days. We ended the service by singing a fun song called “all God’s critters got a voice in the choir?”

The young father in my prayers died last night. I will offer what solace and help that I can.

We do have the joy with the sorrow. The two are inextricably connected. Without one we don’t truly experience the other. How can one understand joy if one has not felt the impact of deep sorrow.

This wonderful quote from Henri Nouwen sums it up beautifully

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Life is full of both and we must live it out.

Without a sense of humor I don’t think I would have lived as long as I have. When as many things fall apart as have around here recently laughing is the only option. It really reaches the ridiculous. Today the water went nuts and decided to gasp out of the faucets and produce brown water. Fortunately I have a husband who can see beyond the ridiculous and solve problems. So we are temporarily able to shower and have water to drink. Further solutions will come in time.

sense-of-humour

I think if asked what is the most important trait needed for survival and sanity I would have to say sense of humor.